In his first address to the nation as president, Donald Trump declared that “a new vision will govern our land.” His anti-establishment message emphasized returning power to the people and rebuilding a thriving and patriotic America.
Trump called Friday a historic day because not only is power transferring from one president to the next, but “we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people.”
This quote, surprisingly enough, is almost the exact same as the one delivered by Bane, the villain of The Dark Knight Rises, who said, “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The Rich!...and we give it back to you, the people.”
The message is in keeping with the populist platform that got him elected, although it is somewhat controversial considering Trump lost the popular vote (and the cinematic parallel). His position as a political outsider gives him the clout to state that his election means a return of power to the people.
His speech was centralized around putting “America first.” A group by the same name in the 1940s arose in support of isolationist policies, as does Trump, but the group also supported anti-Semitic ideologies. This history contrasts the language of unity with which Trump attempted to frame his argument.
As one of the most polarizing figures in US history, Trump used his speech to appeal to all citizens. During his speech, crowds were smaller relative to previous addresses but protests broke out across Washington, some violent.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.”
The idea of listening is similar to ideas former president Obama expressed in his farewell address last week, but just who exactly is included in Trump’s definition of all citizens is not exactly clear: The LGBT rights page on whitehouse.gov was removed on Friday, and in an inauguration ceremony that included the most religious leaders ever, Islam was left out from the group which included a rabbi, a cardinal, and Protestant preachers.
Trump fleshed out his belief that America needs rebuilding when he argued he will end “American carnage,” citing poverty, depletion of industry, a failing education system and violence and crime as factors holding the country back from greatness.
“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
The protectionist idea not only refers to economics, but immigration policy. It alludes to the rallying cry of his supporters: “Build the Wall.” Throughout his campaign, Trump denigrated undocumented immigrants by calling them “killers and rapists” while accusing them of stealing American jobs.
“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”
Not only did Trump become president today, but also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, which he said have seen a “very sad depletion.” The defeat of ISIS and similar terrorist organization has been a focus of the Trump platform throughout his campaign, although the defeat of ISIS will have to wait until Monday. Trump says he considers Monday “day one” of his presidency, rather than celebration-laden Friday and Saturday.
As Trump’s speech progressed, it became heavier in regard to the core American value of freedom.
“We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and most importantly, we will be protected by God.”
This refers to Trump’s views on the foibles of political correctness while again reemphasizing American nationalism and might. But he glosses over police brutality controversies and raises a belief that predates the Constitution – that God favors certain nations. Monarchies often used this idea to justified their continued rule.
“We stand at the birth of a new millennium ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions.”
Trump married his message of unity with his conviction that America will be rebuilt better than ever under his leadership as his speech progressed. And finally, the president concluded that “we will make America great again” through strength, wealth, pride and safety.